England’s trump card James Anderson, who is nearing his 39th birthday, has asserted that his body does not feel ‘old or tired’ and has stated that he is keen to play all seven Tests during the summer. Anderson further admitted that he could very well be the last ever bowler to take 1000 FC wickets.
Fast bowlers, owing to the demanding nature of their skill, generally burn out and wane away by the mid-30s, but James Anderson is an anomaly. Now 38, Anderson has aged like a fine wine and has astonishingly gotten better with every passing year, with his record so far this year - 14 wickets @ 12.35 apiece - serving as a testament to the same. Yet while over the course of the past 18 months the ECB have treaded with caution when it comes to the veteran, managing his workload by resting him every now and then, Anderson, heading into what will be his 19th summer at home, is eager to have no rest this time around.
Speaking ahead of the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s, Anderson made it clear that he wants to feature in all 7 Tests during the summer - two vs New Zealand and five versus India - and insisted that, despite being 38, he neither feels old nor tired.
"I don't feel like I've played that many games. My body doesn't feel old or tired, it's just incredible. Yes. I'd love to play all seven Tests this summer,” Anderson was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo.
“There are five Tests against India after these two Tests against New Zealand, and then the Ashes after that. So we want to start this summer well. So hopefully, if we do pick our strongest team we [Anderson and Broad] would like to think that we're both in that. And we'd love to share the new ball together, yes.
"Stuart and I have sent a few texts to each other saying it'd be nice if we did get to play together. Obviously it's completely down to the coach and captain. But I think, from the team's point of view, we want to get some momentum going into a big summer.
“The rotation in the winter was completely understandable with the amount of cricket we had and the amount of time in bubbles that we were spending. It's going to be slightly different this summer. If everything goes well, I think it will start to get relaxed. We won't be in the sort of bubble life that we've experienced in the last 12 months. So there might be not as much reason to rest people.”
However, the veteran, at the same time, also acknowledged that it might not be ‘realistic’ for him to feature in all seven Tests. England play India in a five-Test series in a tiny window, and Anderson admitted that there is a good chance that the management might implement the rotation policy in the India series, which is set to be a two-month affair.
"I know it's probably not that realistic [to play all seven Tests]. Especially with the depth we have in the bowling group, it makes sense to keep everyone fresh. So it's just a case of managing workloads. If I played the first Test and bowled 20 overs, then obviously I'd want to play in the second Test. But if it's a game where I bowled 50 overs, then you'd obviously review that. So yes, I'd love to play this first two. I know they're back to back, but there is a bit of a break after them.
"The five Tests against India might be a different story with back-to-backs in quite quick succession. That might be where people get rotated a bit more."
The first Test at Lord’s will be Anderson’s 260th first-class game, and the 38-year-old, who currently has 992 scalps to his name, will have the opportunity to breach the 1000 FC wickets mark at the Home of Cricket. Longevity among fast bowlers is dwindling by the day, and Anderson feels that he could very well be the last ever bowler to get to 1,000 first-class wickets.
"1,000 wickets does seem like a lot. In this day and age I don't know if it's possible to get that many first-class wickets any more. With the amount of cricket that's played, there doesn't seem to be that longevity in bowlers any more, and there's loads of T20 cricket and whatever else going on around the world. It feels a lot."
Anderson, on Wednesday, will also become the joint most capped English player, equalling the 161 of Alastair Cook, and the 38-year-old described getting to the landmark as a ‘mind-blowing’ achievement.
"It does make me feel proud. I never imagined in a million years I'd get to this point. Certainly for a bowler to play this amount of games is… I don't know what the word is. But it's a bit mind-blowing to me.
"I feel really honoured that I've managed to do it because it's such an amazing thing to do. I absolutely love Test cricket. I've got a huge passion for it. Growing up, all I wanted to do is play Test cricket for England and I'm honoured I've been able to do it for this long,” Anderson said of equalling Cook’s record.